Tired of the same ol’ choices, pizza, salad bar, pasta bar? Here are 12 dirt cheap college food hacks that will add a little variety to your dorm dining…
Get a Bit Saucy!
Here are a few sauce/condiment ideas that will add a little zip to otherwise bland food items offered by the dining hall/cafeteria.
Instant Faux Thai Dipping Sauce
Grab a few of those handy condiment packets from the dining hall, specifically peanut butter and soy sauce packets. Combine them together and add a couple of sriracha sauce packets. Dip anything and everything in it for an added kick!
Kick Ass BBQ Sauce:
In a mug, cup or bowl combine the following ingredients to make a kick-ass BBQ Sauce:
5-6 packets ketchup
2-3 packets hot sauce
1 packet soy sauce
1 packet of sugar
1 packet of mustard
1/2 packet of salt & 1/2 packet of pepper
Mix it all up and use on any and all S’meat offered by the cafeteria/dining hall. By S’meat we mean, specifically, meat that is otherwise inedible or unpalatable.
Easy Deviled Eggs-
Grab a couple of hard-boiled eggs off the dining line, a packet of relish, 2-3 packets of mayonnaise and a packet of mustard. Combine the mayo, 1/3 of the relish and 2 dabs of the mustard together, mixing well, then add the cooked egg yolks to make your own deviled eggs. Top with chopped bacon from the salad bar.
French Toast with Cream Cheese Icing
2 Philadelphia cream cheese packets
2 tabs of butter
3 packets of sugar
2 pieces of bread
3 mini cups non-dairy creamer
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a Mug combine the eggs, 3 non-dairy creamer cups, 1 packet of sugar and cinnamon, mixing with a fork. Tear the bread into pieces and add it to the mug. Cook in the microwave for 1 min 30 seconds. With a fork, mix the cream cheese, butter, one non-dairy creamer cup and 2 packets of sugar. Drizzle over the French toast.
Sneaky Snack Ideas:
DIY Trail Mix-
If your dining hall offers chocolate and nuts near the ice cream, bring a ziplock baggie with you and collect them. Add some dried fruit and sunflower seeds from the salad bar and some cereal from the breakfast bar such as cheerios or rice krispies to make some homemade trail mix.
Bruschetta Study Bites
– grab some diced tomatoes from the salad bar, sprinkle generously with salt, add a sprinkle of dried basil and a drizzle of olive oil and spread it over some thinly sliced bread (let’s face it, almost all the bread in the dining hall is cut paper thin!).
Main Meal Tweaks & Ideas:
Bland Soup to Wow Soup-
If the soup in the dining hall is too bland for your preferences, fill your bowl halfway, then visit the salad bar to add beans, veggies, pasta, etc – don’t forget to add a packet or two of Sriracha sauce for an additional kick! You might need to pop it in the microwave for an additional minute to heat the extras.
Pasta Bar Ideas-
add some greens from the salad bar, or create pasta Pomodoro by adding diced tomatoes and crumbly cheese such as feta (again from the salad bar!), toss with a bit of olive oil.
If you have a kitchen available on one floor of your dorm, here’s how to make your own
Sweet and hot mustard chicken and broccoli with honey mustard dipping sauce Chicken skewers
3 packets* Chinese hot mustard
2 packets* duck sauce
1 packet* soy sauce
1 tsp rice vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 clove minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp powdered garlic)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 inch cubes
1 crown broccoli cut into florets and slightly steamed
1 onion cut into wedges
melted butter for basting
Combine all of the condiment packets, vinegar, and garlic into a gallon size ziploc bag. Add the chicken cubes and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 2 hours. Heat a frying pan, dump the marinated broccoli & chicken into it and stir fry until the chicken is cooked throughout.
To make the dipping sauce:
Mix together 3 packets of hot mustard, 1 tsp honey, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, and 1 Tbsp water.
What’s for Dessert?
If your dining hall offers soft-serve ice cream, fill a solo cup up halfway with ice cream and top it off with Orange Soda, Root Beer, or even Red Bull for a quick ice cream float.
Ice Cream Sandwiches:
Snag a couple of cookies from the dining hall and head back to your dorm, grab a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream (who are you kidding, we know you have some stashed in the back of your tiny dorm fridge’s freezer!) and slap some ice cream between those snagged cookies. Squish it down to accommodate the size of your mouth and enjoy that nummmmy Sammmmiccchhh!
Healthy Banana Split– cut a banana in half and spread each half with peanut butter, top with chopped strawberries and blueberries and a sprinkle of granola. This is also delicious on top of greek yogurt!
Improvised Ice Cream Sandwiches– Soak Oreo cookies in half & half, then lay them on wax paper (or in a flat layer in a ziploc bag) and put them in the freezer for an hour.